Today Slate’s Katy Waldman wrote a great post taking down the juice cleanse. She said drinking nothing but raw fruit and vegetable juice for several days on end, while touted as healthy, will leave you starving and unhappy. Not to mention everyone who does it acts elitist.
But it’s important to clarify that it’s not drinking juice that leaves you miserable — it’s drinking only juice. (Here, we’re talking about the vegetable juice that’s pressed in a juicer and either served straight from it or bottled and sold in stores, not your typical orange or cranberry juice.)
When most Americans are struggling with their diets already, a story about why juice is bad might scare them away from it entirely. This would be bad, because juicing, in moderation, has an incredibly obvious, important benefit.
It helps you eat more vegetables.
As simple as it sounds, eating vegetables is a big struggle for many people. They’re rich sources of essential vitamins and minerals, and fill you up faster on fewer calories. The Harvard School of Public Health says the daily recommended number of servings varies from five to thirteen daily. That comes in at 2 1/2 cups to 6/12 cups per day, depending on an individual’s caloric intake. (The figure also includes servings of fruit.)
Most people, however, can’t even fit in a few servings. Ask your friends and family and they’ll probably tell you that spinach and kale are ok, but not as delicious as pizza or a burger.
Check out this map of the number of times people in the United States are eating vegetables every day:
Not very often.
Add a few handfuls of kale to your pasta. Mix Spinach into your morning smoothie. Eat carrots instead of crackers. Adopt an elaborate 30-day plan to fit more into your diet. The tips and tricks to get more are everywhere. We’re resorting to mind games.
With juicing, however, there’s no need to think about it that hard. Drinking one glass of juice can bring you close to your daily recommended intake of vegetables in about five minutes. In New York, you can enter any convenience store or deli with pretty good chance there will be either a juice bar or some kind of bottled juice for sale inside.
Look at how many fruits and vegetables are in one bottle of Evolution juice, sold at Starbucks:
Drinking that is basically eating a salad. There’s no fibre in juice, but you still get all the vitamins and minerals from the plants. And for people trying to adopt a better diet, no one should be discouraged from consuming something that’s so nutrient dense.
Juice cleansing is unnecessary, like Slate pointed out. The insane cost, unhealthy mindset, and annoying metamorphosis into a status symbol are definite problems. Their popularity shows that we tend to jump on board whenever promised with a quick fix.
So here’s a quick fix. Drink a juice every once in a while. In terms of total servings of vegetables consumed daily — alongside your regular food intake, of course — there’s no easier, faster, or better way to up your numbers. And being efficient is nice; it’s why we order lunch from Seamless or pay bills online.
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